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Young Western White-bearded Wildebeest

Incredible Wildebeest calving
Tanzania North Safari 13 days

The Great Wildebeest migration is the 8th World Wonder! the Wildebeest calving season is part of it

Tanzania is due to its variety of biotopes very rich in plant and animal species. A number of mountains (Eastern Arc Mountains) have been isolated for million of years and that is where some of the endemic plants and animals evolved. From the coastal region along the Indian Ocean to extensive savannahs and dry areas, volcanoes and glacier, lakes and rivers build the diversity. Tanzania covers 945,087 km²; 20% are protected areas. Each region has its fascination and we plan your safari based on your interests.

This Wildebeest calving safari season Tanzania will take you to the breeding places of the Western White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi). This is the subspecies building the famous Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve. With about 1.5 million individuals they are the most numerous but also the smallest. They weigh 230 – 275 kg and reach 140 – 152 cm shoulder height.

From around mid February the Wildebeest calving season starts and within about 3 weeks 500.000 calves are born. Synchronizing birth provides such a huge amount of prey to predators that they can never eat them all. This increases the chances of survival to each calf. It is also important that calves will be strong enough after 2 months to follow the herd once they start moving north and cross the Mara River. Once they reach the Mara River they will be half a year old.

Wildebeest calves stand in average after 15 minutes (sometimes even after just a few minutes) on wobbly legs – this is the record among mammals. Soon after they make their first steps and search for the udder of their mother. This is a very important time during which the bond between mother and calf is made. At birth they weigh about 21 kg and start nibbling on grass after 10 days but still will drink mother milk for the next 9 months. Witnessing the Wildebeest calving is a spectacle on its own!

Breeding herds consist of small families – mother with her last 2 – 3 offspring. Bulls live in bachelor herds and also migrate. During mating season in June they fight for and mark a small territory with the craziest moves (that is why they are also called the clowns of the savannah) to attract cows for mating.

With our experience with the Wildebeest calving season and passion for wildlife we will advise you professionally and create your dream safari!

Forests of Baobab trees and many elephant families are the picture of Tarangire National Park. But also here you find Wildebeest but the slightly larger and brighter subspecies (Connochaetes taurinus albogularis). Those migrate between Tarangire and Lake Manyara. Tarangire River has water throughout the year and attracts many animals during dry season. Also here a wildebeest calving season exists almost at the same time.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Grzimek made Serengeti famous through his documentary “Serengeti shall not die”. The name Serengeti derives from the Maa word Siringet – vast plain. And you will see this vast flat grassland which is dotted with Kopjes / Inselbergen. Eroded rocks once lifted up by tectonic forces. Despite most herds will be in Ndutu area you will we visit this amazing wildlife paradise.

Ndutu area belongs to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and borders Serengeti in the South. This is where Western White-bearded Wildebeest will be present in huge numbers. Lions, leopards, cheetahs and Spotted Hyenas belong to the large carnivores living in this area and have the best time of the year. The black cotton soil of the area is covered by different grass species and various Acacia species build forests. Sometimes flamingos gather at Lake Ndutu.

The Ngorongoro Crater also belongs to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is a wildlife paradise without comparison! Around 35.000 small and large mammals reside here throughout the year. The crater floor provides enough food and water for all of them.

Ngorongoro Crater has the highest Lion and Spotted Hyena density! Also for them the Wildebeest calving time is the feasting period of the year.

Please also consider to reside in private conservancies. These are less frequented and allow more private animal observation. Besides you support very important migration routes and biotopes. You can also witness wildebeest calving in conservancies.

Accommodation during our incredible Wildebeest calving season safari Tanzania 13 days

Tanzania has a large offer of accommodation to choose from during the Wildebeest calving season:

Camping – mobile tented Camp is also possible during the Wildebeest calving safari.. You can choose between public and private campsites in Serengeti. In Ndutu only private campsites are provided. In Tarangire we mostly use public well maintained campsites outside the park near the entrance. The best camp site on Ngorongoro Crater Rim is Simba public Campsite.

Lodges during the Wildebeest calving safari: there are a few lodge chains in different categories – standard and price. Some have very good strategic locations.

Luxury tented camps during Wildebeest calving safari: Also here you have many to choose from in Serengeti and a few in Ndutu area. In the Ngorongoro area most of them are located outside the conservation area.

Tanzania is the land for land cruisers and land rovers. Minibuses are not suitable.

Date for Wildebeest calving safari: Mid of February to beginning of March

Itinerary sample for our incredible Wildebeest calving Tanzania North safari 13 days

Day 1 – Arrival in Arusha
If you arrive in the evening you will sleep at the nearby KIA Lodge. When arriving in the morning you can either do a program or relax in a beautiful lodge.
Hotel / lodge, no meal today

Day 2 – Arusha – Tarangire National Park
After you had your breakfast the drive starts with your driver/guide out of Arusha town to Tarangire National Park. If you like to see snakes which are rare to find in the wild visit Meserani Snake Park. A small Maasai Museum is attached to it. It takes around 2.5 to 3 hours from Arusha to the entrance to Tarangire National Park.

If you do camping you will first go to the campsite to pitch the tents while the cook is preparing lunch.

If you stay in a lodge or luxury tented camp you will check in for lunch.

Later in the afternoon enjoy your first game drive and you might witness an amazing sunset and the silhouette of the baobab trees.

Accommodation – Luxury Camp, lodge or mobile camping, full board

Day 3 – Tarangire National Park
It is a very interesting day when you leave after breakfast, visit the picnic site overlooking Tarangire River and drive watching wildlife while heading to the Silale Swamp. There look up the trees; you might spot a lion, a leopard or a Rock Python.

It is also possible to undertake morning and afternoon game drives while staying in a luxury tented camp.

Wildlife in Tarangire National Park: Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Spotted Hyenas, Mongooses, Bat-eared Foxes, Black-backed Jackals, Plain Zebra, Buffalos, Maasai Giraffes, the slightly larger and brighter Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus albogularis), Baboons, Vervet monkeys, Impalas and others.

You might already witness some Wildebeest calving in Tarangire and Arusha.

Accommodation – Luxury Camp, lodge or mobile camping, full board

Day 4 – Tarangire – Ngorongoro – Serengeti National Park
It will be a long day driving many kilometers. But the scenery you will see is
superb! The tarmac road passes the village Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito River) near
Lake Manyara National Park and then starts climbing up the rim of the Great
Rift Valley. At a view point you will stop to look down to Lake Manyara.

The road takes you higher up through fertile farmland. Different crops are planted here. Still climbing you drive through a beautiful mountain forest until you reach the entrance to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After check in the rough road begins and you follow it up to the crater rim. Enjoy the view into the crater! Through a lovely landscape dotted with Maasai Bomas you descend to the vast plain. The rough road (usually really a rough road) leads straight to Naabi Hill Gate of Serengeti National Park.

After you enjoyed your pack lunch you move to your accommodation while watching animals.

Accommodation – Luxury Camp, lodge or mobile camping, full board

Day 5 + 6 – Serengeti National Park
Within the 14,763 km² of the park you will encounter different biotopes and landscapes. You can undertake full day excursions with picnic lunch (recommended) or morning and afternoon game drives.

Wildlife you can spot: Elephants, Maasai Giraffes, Topis, Robert’s Gazelle (Nanger granti robertsi), different species Mongoose, Leopard, Lions, Cheetahs and many more.

You can even find lions on trees! And you checkout Simba Kopjes and other Inselberge where you might be lucky lions will look down at you.

In Central Serengeti is one of the most interesting hippo pool. Take your time observing how they interact.

Despite the Wildebeest and Zebra herds are more south in Ndutu area you will have plenty of game to watch.

Accommodation – Luxury Camp, lodge or mobile camping, full board

Day 7 – Serengeti – Ndutu
While watching wildlife you drive to Naabi gate where you will check out. Ndutu Conservation Area will start shortly after the gate.

You drive to the luxury tented lodge for lunch. Or if you prefer camping you get to the campsite to pitch the camp. With larger groups a supply car with crew will have arrived earlier and built the camp inclusive shower and toilet.

Game drive in the afternoon.

Accommodation for example Ndutu Safari Lodge or private campsite, FB

Day 8 – 10 – Ndutu area – Wildebeest calving
During game drives you will spend a lot of time near breeding herds and watch Wildebeest calving. Where so many animals are born predators can’t be far. It is also interesting to watch how herds move from one grazing place to an other. On our safari wildebeest calving there will always be something interesting to see!

Where predators have a kill vultures are waiting to take over. Once the cat or hyena has left they take over and fight over the left overs.

Accommodation for example Ndutu Safari Lodge or private campsite, FB

Day 11 – Ndutu – Oldupai Gorge – Ngorongoro Crater
When the road is dry you will visit “Shifting Sands” a dark sickle shaped wandering sand dune. Shifting Sands is not far from Oldupai Gorge.

You will drive through Oldupai Gorge and up to the Museum. Here you will learn about evolution of human kind and animals as well as excavation work. The view into the gorge is amazing! Water and wind have eroded the different layers where fossilized bones and tools of early human beings were found.

You will have picnic lunch here before you start driving up the road you passed some days earlier to the Ngorongoro Crater rim. If you wish you can visit a Maasai Boma and see and hear how they live.

A stop at the grave of Prof. Dr. Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael is a must. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Grzimek has with a lot of effort managed that this nature heritage site has been protected and that you can enjoy the abundance of wildlife even today.

The Ngorongoro Crater rim is at around 2.300 m above sea level. That means nights can be quite cold and mist will hang in the morning.

Fantastic views into the crater are from the big Wildlife Lodge and Serena Lodge, but as well from the public campsite Simba.

A bit cheaper is Rhino Lodge situated on the outer side of the crater rim. More camps and lodges are mostly outside Ngorongoro Conservation Area and if you have to pass the entrance you might lose quite some time. As everywhere the best hours to watch wildlife are early morning and later afternoon.

Accommodation, lodge, luxury camp or public campsite, full board

Day 12 – Ngorongoro Crater
Early morning when it might still be misty you start driving down on a steep road leading you 600 m lower to the crater floor. You will spend the whole day until 18.00 hours when the gate closes in this wildlife density (picnic lunch).

Also here White-bearded Wildebeest calving season has started or you will see young on still wobbling legs sticking to their mothers and sucking milk! They don’t migrate and belong to the prey Lions and Spotted Hyenas feed on.

Except Giraffes, Topis and Hartebeest you can find almost all species as in Serengeti. Around 35.000 mammals; small and large live all year round in the crater which is providing sufficient food.

The highest Lion and Spotted Hyena density is found in the crater. So you can expect to see them, maybe even hunting or at a kill.

Ngorongoro Crater is the only place where Black Rhinos / Hooked-lipped Rhinos are gregarious!

Golden Wolves are no longer a Jackals species and best found in Serengeti or in the Ngorongoro Crater.

After rain the crater floor becomes so colourful by blossoming plants. Also Flamingos sometimes colour the soda lake pink.

You will see the crater is so full of life that often you won’t know where to concentrate your camera on.

Accommodation, lodge, luxury camp or public campsite, full board

Day 13 – Ngorongoro – Arusha
After breakfast and enjoying the view into the crater you leave the crater rim and descend via Karatu and Mto wa Mbu to Arusha.

From the local airport before Arusha you can comfortably fly to Zanzibar – the spice island. Spend some relaxing days at the beach or explore the interesting history of the beautiful place.

Or you drive straight to the airport where lunch is at KIA lodge and you can have a day room until 18.00 hours. A lodge driver will take you to the nearby Kilimanjaro Airport on time for your departure.

The time of the Fantastic Wildebeest calving Tanzania North Safari 13 days is peak season. It is important to book early so your preferred accommodation or private campsite will be available.

Rainy season can start in March and roads in Ndutu area can be very challenging to pass.

Above itinerary for the wildebeest calving safari can be amended to suit your wishes and interests.

Number of guests and standard of accommodation as well as the season influence the price. We therefore don’t indicate any here.